Focus Shifts to Elderly and Drug Abuse

While teenage drug abuse is still a crisis throughout the country, a new and scary trend is starting to emerge. The elderly are showing signs that many of them are abusing prescription medications at an alarming rate.

When medications like Oxycontin and Vicodin first hit the market, pharmaceutical representatives insisted that these would be miracle drugs for the elderly population and others for their pain management needs. A group that suffers more aches and pains as they get older would surely benefit from prescription pain medication. However, as the years have gone by, more and more studies are showing that the elderly are not exempt from succumbing to the highly addictive components of prescription painkillers.

Perhaps the recent surge in prescription drug abuse among senior citizens is due to the fact that the population is growing so steadily. As the Baby Boomers get older they bring with them some of their bad habits. While there is no concrete information regarding exactly how many senior citizens are abusing prescription pain medications, experts are concerned with the growing number of people that will need help for their drug abuse problem.

Because prescription medication is so highly addictive can have such painful withdrawal symptoms, it will be necessary for senior citizens to consult with a physician in order to get off the drugs safely.

Some people wonder how adults who are legitimately prescribed medications like Oxycontin, Vicodin and Percocet could fall into such a dependency. Experts warn that some physicians may overlook the signs that an addiction is forming, or even worse, fail to notice that an addiction is even possible. “Physicians who work in a fee-for-service system and are traditionally paid by procedure are pressed for time, and too often write prescriptions in the interest of time management without knowing the necessary behavioral health background of a patient,” explains psychologist James Huysman.

For those who feel that their loved one may be abusing prescription pain medication, it is vital to seek help from a trained treatment expert in this field. For some, this may require finding a new physician as well as detoxification and rehabilitation services.